WFH has given us a new condition – tech neck. This is a condition where repeated use of screens results in strain and injury. We share a workout that can help.
According to Dr. John S. Michels, MD, tech neck, also referred to as text neck, is a new name for an old issue .This is neck pain caused by repetitive strain and injury to the muscles and other tissue structures of the cervical spine. This results from the daily and repeated actions of stressing muscles while using computers, tablets, phones and other screens. These actions cause neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, and soreness amongst other symptoms.
F45 Recovery Athlete Cristina Chan has shared a list of low intensity workouts below that help to stretch our bodies out. It’s focused on mobility through the jaw, back, neck and shoulders.
Upper Trapezius Stretching
Our trapezius often becomes stiff and tight after a long day in front of our desk. To stretch the upper trapezius, all we need to do is bring our right ear as close to our right shoulder as possible. Gently pulling our head to the right from the left side of our head without hiking our shoulders up. Hold the position for 30 secs before switching to the other side.
A short daily two-minute workout with resistance bands can reduce tension in our neck and shoulders as well as relieve headaches. To do a band pull-apart, simply hold a light resistance band in front of you with your arms out straight and pull the band apart as far as possible, making sure not to shrug the shoulders as you go. Keep the shoulder blades together and hold the position before returning to the start position.
No resistance band? Try this alternative stretch instead.
Chin tucks are a great way to align our head, neck, and shoulder posture after a long day of hunching over our desks. All we need to do is simply sit up tall with our back straight against the back of the chair and bring the chin towards the front of the throat without tilting the head, assist with two fingers on the chin if needed. Hold the position for five seconds and then relax.
Research has shown that aerobic exercises or a workout decrease migraine durations and their level of pain. Taking a simple stroll during the workday not only helps to reduce migraines, but it also helps take us away from our screens. If you cannot squeeze in a workout or a walk during lunch, schedule a walking meeting over the phone. Walking meetings are a great way to get work done as well as exercise and get some fresh air. Cycling and going for a run are also great alternatives for people looking for a more high-intensity workout.
Moving through some dynamic stretches can help reduce muscle tightness and tension in the head, neck, and shoulders. To loosen the muscles that may cause headaches, we recommend starting with a downward dog or cat-cow stretch, which both increase blood circulation and relax the mind. To do a downward dog, put your hands and feet on the floor, and tilt your hips up toward the ceiling, creating a “V-shape” with your body, and feeling the stretch through your hamstrings. If you can’t straighten your legs in this position, you can bend the knees softly.
For the cat-cow stretch, place your hands and knees on the floor and round out your back, tucking your chin towards your chest. You can then flow the opposite way, scooping your back to stretch out your abdominals and tip your chin towards the sky.
Continue to move through these alternating positions slowly as you take deep breaths in and out.